Skies were overcast as we met at the Stormy Petrel II (late) Saturday morning. Myrtle Warblers were eating bugs in the lights at the marina and we could hear them overhead. Since the sun it so late to rise in the fall we didn't meet until 06:30, but by the time we made it to Hatteras Inlet, the sun was peeking out of the clouds and we headed offshore in choppy seas left from the wind the night before. Winds were light from the north west and we found some shearwaters on the shelf in addition to cooperative Atlantic Spotted Dolphins! The shearwater flock we encountered had both Cory's and Scopoli's (pictured below)
Just beyond the shelf break around 10:00 we found more shearwaters! It was also here that we began to pick up some Wilson's Storm-Petrels. We don't always see them at this time of year, so having over a dozen with us for most of our time offshore was spectacular! They came close each time we circled back on the slick offshore and everyone had nice views of these small stormies from the Southern Ocean.
Also of note offshore were the many Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers, a high flying flock of Great Blue Herons, and a young Lesser Black-backed Gull. Thanks so much to everyone who joined us out there for our final trip of the fall, and a huge "Thank You" to all of our supporters this year! Thank you also to Steve Backus for helping Brian and I lead this trip. Our 2022 Schedule will be up later this fall! ~Kate Sutherland (all photos today are mine)
Species List for October 23, 2021
Black-capped Petrel - 19 to 21
Cory's Shearwater - 7
Scopoli's Shearwater - 17
Cory's / Scopoli's Shearwater - 255
Great Shearwater - 20 to 21
Audubon's Shearwater - 5
Wilson's Storm-Petrel - 34
Pomarine Jaeger - 4
jaeger sp. - 2
Common Tern - 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1
Great Blue Heron - 5
Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler - 21 to 22
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin - 12 to 15
Bottlenose Dolphin - 42 to 52
Monarch - 1
A few Black-capped Petrel images, always a crowd pleaser, and certainly one of my favorite seabirds!
Another Scopoli's ventral view:
And finally a couple of the offshore Bottlenose Dolphins we saw!